Mini Review Roundup: The Vegetarian by Han Kang, The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem by Sarit Yishai-Levi, And After Many Days by Jowhor Ile

25489025Published: February 2nd, 2016 (first published 2007)

by: Hogarth

Translated by: Deborah Smith

Genres: Adult-Fiction, Cultural, Korean-Lit, Literary-Fiction

Format: ARC

Source: Won

My Rating: 4 Stars

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My Thoughts

4-stars

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Goodreads, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

To let you know what this book is about, I’ve added the Goodreads link above to check out the synopsis. I really wanted to five star this book, but the beginning of it pissed me off to the point where I couldn’t ignore how it made me feel. So Yeong-hye is a character that I will probably never forget. She was ordinary (that’s how her husband describes her), but woke up in the middle of the night and decided to become a vegetarian. There’s nothing wrong with that, because I sometimes want to become one myself. What is wrong, is that Yeong-hye had more going on with her than removing meat from her diet. Those dreams really did a number on her. And instead of her family seeing it for what it was and seeking help, they decided to fix the problem themselves and made it worse. And then there are the other messed up characters. I wondered why Yeong-hye’s husband didn’t just marry a woman that he desired and would have maybe loved above all else. I wondered about Yeong-hye’s brother-in-law, and his obsession with her. He’s viewed as a lazy artist in the beginning, but when we get his POV, everything changes.

We see these people very differently than how the other characters see them. There is talk of rape. Yes, it is rape here in this country. Whether the two people in question are married or not, it is still rape if the person being violated didn’t consent. And the perpetrator correlated the victim to a “comfort woman”. Do you know how WRONG that is?!! I was so angry, but this is a very thought provoking book. Coming in at less than 200 pages, I didn’t want it to end. But, it ended in a way that leaves a reader speechless, albeit a little angry also. I don’t want to say anything more. If you want to read something outside your normal genre, read this book. If you want a peak into Korean culture, read this book. And no, the author is not saying that ALL Koreans are like this. I work with a lot of Korean interns that come here, and they are so great. I just love reading about cultures outside of my own.

 


 

26114648Published: April 5th, 2016

by: Thomas Dunne Books

Genres:  Historical-Fiction, Cultural, Jewish-Lit

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publisher

My Rating: DNF 

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My Thoughts

*I received a copy of this book for free, from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

For the life of me, I could not finish this book. I got as far as 143 pages, and called it quits. I think this may be the first HF book that has bored me to tears in a long time. I can’t tell you what happens in the end of this family saga, because my brain was begging me to stop. Not saying that this book may not appeal to others, but it’s just not for me. Gabriela is quite a curious character. She wants to understand her family, where she comes from, and ultimately her place within all the history. It wasn’t the past that bored me, it’s the present. I’m well aware of some of the history of Jerusalem, so I’m sure there may be some great story spun about a great grandmother, aunt or cousin, but I didn’t get far enough to find out. You may like this book very much, if you are into HF and cultural books. Maybe it was my mood, but Gabriela didn’t make me want to keep going. Her need to want her mother’s affections was not as inspiring as I thought this book would be about. Instead, she came off as this desperate, impulsive girl. This may be a case of it’s-not-you-it’s-me. I just couldn’t even begin to like this book, and those 143 pages were forced. If you want some Jewish history, you may like this book. As far as a world wind historical tale, I didn’t get that.

 


 

 

25852858Published: February 16th, 2016

by: Tim Duggan Books

Genres: African-Lit, Cultural, Adult-Fiction, Politics

Format: ARC

Source: Won

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

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My Thoughts

3-5-stars (1)

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Goodreads, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

And After Many Days is about how the disappearance of a young man, Paul, changes one family’s way of life completely. Not only the family, but the community itself. I was caught up in Ajie’s narrative of the past and present. His guilt was pretty heavy, and I felt so sad about his need to blame himself; as he was the last to see Paul before he disappeared. This book is not only about this one family, but the whole Nigerian country. I’m not familiar with a lot of African history, so I love reading these stories, as they all paint vivid and painful scenes of the political warfare that has torn the country apart through the years. And as oil is such a hot commodity, it sits at the head of the table. Protests – both peaceful and violent, are as common as a national holiday here in the United States. Student riots were not uncommon either. So, the big question is, where is paul?. Ajie recounts their childhood -his, Paul, and their sister Bibi – as well as their respect for their parents Bendic and Ma.

With all the good writing of this story aside, it was very hard to discern between past and present. I would find myself rereading a lot of passages because I couldn’t quite keep up. Very confusing, at times. I don’t like to be confused when reading, as it takes away some of the joy of the process. That being said, I would have loved for this to be narrated differently. But, I am not a writer, so therefore I won’t complain too much. I’m sure there are plenty who will understand this just fine without having to stop and take different approaches. Overall, I enjoyed this book and the honest picture it painted. It all seemed like the family story took a back seat to the political parts. Then again, that may be what growing up in Nigeria is like, and why the author chose to present the story this way. If you enjoy African Literature, you should definitely add this book to your list. 

 

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18 thoughts on “Mini Review Roundup: The Vegetarian by Han Kang, The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem by Sarit Yishai-Levi, And After Many Days by Jowhor Ile

  1. The Vegetarian sounds fucking amazing! I’m so ready to step outside of my comfort zone to read something different, and after reading the synopsis and skimming some reviews, I’m definitely picking this up asap!

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  2. Wow, there was quite a range in terms of books here! I’m so impressed that you tried this variety. It seems like the Vegetarian was very good and dealt with a lot of troublesome issues even though the beginning was hard to work through. I’m glad it isn’t generalising all the people of that culture as well, but just showing one story. I know I won’t be trying the Beauty Queen of Jerusalem any time soon… and the other book just failed to catch my interest :/

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  3. The Vegetarian sounds like a really interesting read, I’m definitely intrigued. Also, totally love the cover!
    Great mini reviews!

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  4. I got angry just reading your review on “The Vegetarian.” I may have to skip that one. I don’t think I could handle not throwing the book out of anger for the characters lol

    Being West African, “And After Many Days” looks interesting. May need to check that one out. Good reviews! I love the diversity of what you read

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  5. The only book I’ve heard of in this roundup is The Vegetarian, and it’s actually one I was very curious about so I’m so happy you enjoyed it! The other two aren’t really in my usual genres, and even The Vegetarian might not be, but I’m intrigued by the premise.

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  6. I love books about different culture because I think it just helps me feel like I understand the world a little bit better. The first book and that last one have me curious. The one you DNF’d sounds good but it’s just boring I won’t bother.

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  7. Oh, good picks! I would have picked up all of them to try.
    Yikes! The forced thing in the first book would have soured my read, too. That sort of rape within a relationship happens more often than we think even here. But I do eventually want to read a book set in Korea. I work with a Korean gal, too, and I know she and her family aren’t like that, either.
    Ah, too bad the Jewish book slogged along like that. That would be distracting to keep up with the past/present stuff.
    Nigerian family life and how their situation fits the political situation would be interesting. I think I have a romance set in that area that I’ll be reading soon. I’ll see if politics plays a big role.

    Enjoyed your mini reviews on the diverse pile of books.

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  8. I anm intrigued by the African lit definitely. Adding that to my TBR. I also like the one on Korea. I have never read any book set in Korea and your review has gotten me intrigued by that one. The second book has an interesting cover, the lady is stunning but it doesn’t sound very interesting especially from your review. Great reviews Lekeisha. You read a lot of diverse and interesting books.

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  9. Some different novels there and well different opinions too, sorry for the second that youc ouldn’t finish it but wow you did read a big part and as for the first one I wonder if I wouldn’t have been more annoyed

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  10. I really enjoyed The Vegetarian. Part 1 was my favorite and the Mongolian Mark was good too because I liked reading from the artist’s perspective.

    A very thought-provoking book indeed. I’ll be reviewing it next week.

    Like

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